By Joe Johnson
A Barrow County judge recently sentenced a woman to probation after she pleaded guilty to reckless conduct for failing to secure her two pit bulls who viciously mauled and almost killed a Winder girl two years ago.
By pleading guilty in a plea agreement Friday in Barrow County State Court, 21-year-old Alexandria Torregrossa, avoided trial and, if found guilty, a possible maximum sentence of one year in jail.
Authorities said Torregrossa was arrested on July 31, 2020 because she failed that day to secure two pit bulls in her home, located in the same Winder neighborhood as the residence of Joslyn Stinchcomb, then 15 years old, who was attacked by the dogs as she strolled through neighborhood streets.
A neighbor who heard the victim’s screams called 911.
According to the Barrow County Sheriff’s Office, the dogs got out of the house through a back door that Torregrossa failed to close.
They chased Stinchcomb and knocked her to the ground, then they attacked her head, neck and body, crushing her trachea, and ripping off her scalp and an ear.
When deputies arrived and saw the life-threatening mauling that Stinchcomb was undergoing, a deputy shot one of the dogs, sending both animals scurrying back to Torregrossa’s home, where they were captured and subsequently euthanized, and where their owner was arrested.
Charity Montgomery Stinchcomb, with whom Joslyn lives and served as family spokesperson during her niece's 81-day hospitalization that included 20 surgical procedures, said the family agreed to the plea bargain to spare Joslyn from the trauma of reliving events during a trial.
According to Charity, conditions of Torregrossa’s probation include 100 hours of community service, and she is prohibited from owning additional dogs that are not of the same breed of the ones she currently has –a Chihuahua and a mixed-breed.
Charity and her family are devout Christians who already had forgiven Torregrossa
“We as a family now feel that closure that we have been needing, Charity said. “Yes, this will follow us, especially our JBird, forever; however, we cannot and will not continue to hold any grudge or harbor any ill feelings. For the most part, we had already moved on and this has been forgiven.
“A while back, prior to JBird’s attack, I personally learned that when we forgive someone it is not for their benefit, but for ours,” she said. “Although it does not keep the other person from any consequences of their actions, it does release us from the bitterness and resentment that we may have. It can also be given even if not asked for or even received by the other person. Forgiveness doesn’t mean we have to be friends, but it does allow us to move forward in life.”
Quoting from the Bible, Charity added, “Ephesians 4: 31 – 32 (ESV) says, ‘Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.’””
Joslyn this year will be entering her junior year at Winder-Barrow High School, where she belongs to the marching band.
She was attacked just prior to beginning 9th grade, but Charity said her niece didn't miss a step in her scholastic progress.
Despite being hospitalized, Joslyn was able to virtually complete her sophomore year, according to Charity.
Not only will she be rejoining the Bulldoggs marching band to play flute with her peers, her vocal chords have healed well enough for her to sing with the school’s chorus, Charity said.